Book One in the Tainted Realm series by Irvine uses his vast love of, and experience in, fantasy and science to bring us the first of another epic adventure in magery, magic, violence and hope. Irvine uses an imaginative and dynamic narrative that comes alive for readers. He gives us the story in bits and doses, where the battles are deadly and where his characters will rule the pages, where his readers will long for answers they’ll have to wait for.
A millennium ago, 144 children were betrayed by their own and used as the spoils of war. Their descendants have been enslaved, until a seemingly insignificant slave girl escapes Cython — fulfilling a prophecy she knew nothing about — to return to her ancestral home of Hightspall where history paints a very different past. As she blindly goes about changing the future she makes both friends and enemies, bringing down great houses and unleashing forces that have been locked away for eons. But there’s more at work here than a clever enemy with unstoppable weapons, this battle has been planned and schemed by an invisible menace whose memory is long and whose only thought is for vengeance. (ORBIT, Apr., 688 pp.,$14.99)